Approximately 2600 babies are born each year in San Luis Obispo County. Childbirth can be difficult. Maternal Mental Health Disorders are the most common complication of childbirth.
Depression and anxiety affect 1 in 5 pregnant and postpartum women. Postpartum depression may occur immediately after birth or many months later. The longer a depression goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more impact it has on the woman and her family. Postpartum depression often leaves women feeling ashamed, isolated and with overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Risk Factors for Depression – experiences that may put some women at a higher risk for depression include:
- Low social support.
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
- Being a mom to multiples, like twins, or triplets.
- Losing a baby.
- Being a teen mom.
- Preterm (before 37 weeks) labor and delivery.
- Having a baby with a birth defect or disability.
- Pregnancy and birth complications.
- Having a baby or infant who has been hospitalized.
Some women with postpartum emotional disorders recover without incident. Many others need professional help. Postpartum emotional problems are physical and real. A woman can not “pull herself out of it” any more than she can pull herself out of a heart attack.
Depression can also occur among women with a healthy pregnancy and birth. Fathers and partners are effected as well and are more likely to become depressed before or after baby’s birth if the moms were also afflicted. In additional to the resources below fathers and partners can find support through Parent Connection of SLO County, including support groups and parent coaching.
A woman experiencing any symptoms can call our Support Line 805-541-3367 for free confidential information and referrals in English and Spanish. All the symptoms, from the mildest to the most severe are temporary and treatable. Treatment varies, depending on the severity of the symptoms. For more information visit our Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression program page or http://postpartumwellness.org. If you need Support Line brochures in English or Spanish, please contact the CFS office at 805-543-6216.